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  1. #16
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Procrastination!!!!

    So, this being a leisurely project with no deadlines and an hour here and there, right now I am not sure how to proceed. Any ideas???

    I have to do rule joints, but also wish to do a slight radius on the top and leaf ends. This is where I am not sure what method to use providing a nice clean gradual curve. The rule joints complicate the issue a bit more. Do I use the same profile as the rule joints on the ends? The attached PDF shows what I want to do. The radius of the curve is around 350"

    Here is the progress so far:

    The glued up tops came out pretty nice at 7/8" nice and flat which is great for 4/4 lumber. They were sanded flat using my Jet 16/32 drum sander doing a double pass to cover the whole width with each sanding pass. I have a bit of sap cherry on the bottom, but the tops are 100% Cherry color.




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  3. #17
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    If I understand the question correctly, here is how I would approach it:

    First, cut the rule joints on all pieces.

    Second, lay the pieces out in their exact orientation on your work bench, much as you have them in the second pic.

    Third, use a flexible strip to lay out the arc. W/ a 350" radius, it will be difficult to mark the arc from a pivot point.

    Fourth, cut the arc on each piece.
    I'll gladly tell you how I do something. Just please don't confuse that with the right way to do it, and almost certainly not the only way.


  4. #18
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Clemmons View Post
    If I understand the question correctly, here is how I would approach it:

    First, cut the rule joints on all pieces.

    Second, lay the pieces out in their exact orientation on your work bench, much as you have them in the second pic.

    Third, use a flexible strip to lay out the arc. W/ a 350" radius, it will be difficult to mark the arc from a pivot point.

    Fourth, cut the arc on each piece.
    That would be my approach also, using a template for final rounding, but here is the problem:

    When I mold end grain, using either a router or shaper, I always leave the board slightly wider than final dimension. That way, when I get to the end of the molding cut, the bit of tear-out is removed when I rip to final dimension. Alternatively, if the board was already at final dimension, I would use a push board to prevent the tear out.

    With a rule joint at final dimension that becomes a bit risky and I don't want to damage some expensive figured Cherry.

    I think using the same profile on the board ends as the rule joint profile will finish the job nicely, but have to figure out how to mold this without risk of end-grain tear-out into the long-grain rule joint profile.

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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    It would be some extra hand work, but consider stopping your router cut just shy of the end grain tearout. Maybe 1/8 to 3/16" shy. Then use a rasp, files, chisel, and sanding to finish off the edge. I've done that on a couple of pieces where it just wasn't practical to finish off w/ the router. A lambs tongue comes to mind. You may notice the slight variation in the profile, but no one else ever will.
    I'll gladly tell you how I do something. Just please don't confuse that with the right way to do it, and almost certainly not the only way.


  6. #20
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Clemmons View Post
    It would be some extra hand work, but consider stopping your router cut just shy of the end grain tearout. Maybe 1/8 to 3/16" shy. Then use a rasp, files, chisel, and sanding to finish off the edge. I've done that on a couple of pieces where it just wasn't practical to finish off w/ the router. A lambs tongue comes to mind. You may notice the slight variation in the profile, but no one else ever will.
    Yep, that will solve the problem!!!

    Think I am going to practice two tight fitting rule joint profiles (concave and convex) on some scrap pieces, using the concave as a push block first. If that works without tear-out, it will be the approach. If that still provides risk, we will do it the Bill Clemmons way.

    I am doing this on my shaper. Think router would have worked better here, but already have the shaper cutters.

  7. #21
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    A little bit more progress, and I am stuck again!!!

    Has anyone here ever done a PERFECT rule joint for a drop leaf? I would appreciate your help, as this joint has me beat right now. I have looked at all the tutorials I can find, looked at an old thread here and mocked up some scrap pieces. The final look in terms of no gaps with the leaf up and down and hiding the hinge mortises seem to be some magic I am missing. I can get pretty close, but hiding that mortise hinge 99% for me is not good enough. So, I am going to try and figure this thing out later today, but would love to see pictures and advice from someone who has mastered this darn joint.

    Progress:

    The profiles for the rule joint were milled on the shaper, using rule joint cutters 1/2" radius. First I used a couple of scrap pieces same thickness of the tops to get the settings dead on.







    Then, remember earlier I wanted to radius the end grain sides of the top. I got lucky and found an old template I made several years ago for the back legs of a set of six dining chairs. It provided the perfect curve for the top and the leafs. Marked the curve in pencil and cut it on the bandsaw. I will so a bit of smoothing later using a router, straight bit and the template.



    The top is ready for hinges, once I have figured out this rule joint, which has me puzzled right now.

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  9. #22
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Next step was the rule joints for the tops and leafs. That gave me quite a headache, those who missed the help I got from my fellow NCWW, the thread is here: https://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/...ad.php?t=63358

    After doing parametric modeling in 3D, video below, to get this joint exactly right, I simply copied all the measurements to my top and leafs, and assembled exactly as per the 3D drawings. I got pretty close to the same result without having to do any adjustments. The only variable was my 3D hinge models had no slop in them and they were perfectly square. The ones purchased from Rockler...... Well that is another story, if I ever do this again the best possible rule joint hinges will have to be found.



    The rule joint came out fairly good, no large gaps and the hinge mortises nicely hidden





    Next is smoothing the bandsaw cuts of the end grain curves on the top and leafs, then we have to try and do something to make this thing a bit better looking. I am thinking inlay banding on the top and leafs.
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  11. #23
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Nice looking table, Willem. What finish are you going to put on it?
    I'll gladly tell you how I do something. Just please don't confuse that with the right way to do it, and almost certainly not the only way.


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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Clemmons View Post
    Nice looking table, Willem. What finish are you going to put on it?
    Thanks Bill, still a bit of work left on this one.

    Anything that has a table top, I normally go for the hardest most durable finish. This will be sprayed with a post cat conversion varnish, three coats the first being seal and sand

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  14. #25
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    The challenge with a double drop leaf table is aesthetics, as the leafs hide most of the table. I am trying to keep the item neoclassical, so to brighten it up a little but keep the lines simple, I will do a plain Soft Maple stripe inlay on the leafs and the top. Also, the end grain curves still have bandsaw marks, which needs to be cleaned up.

    I use the same template which marked the edge curves as a guide, stick double sided carpet tape on it, then place it underneath the top, adding a couple of clamps out of the router path to hold it secure and maintain some pressure between template, tape and bench. Then a straight router bit with a bottom bearing on the template guide is used to smooth the curve.



    Next, the top is turned over, the hinges numbered with their positions, removed, placed in a zip lock bag with all their screws.



    The inlay path is marked with a combination square and pencil, around each leaf and the top.



    A small router with an edge guide and a 1/4" spiral bit is used to cut the inlay groove, 1/16" deep. For the edge guide I attached wood fences, one to fit the curve, the other straight.



    The inlay soft Maple strips along the grain are easy to cut. Across the grain they need a little more work due to possible failure caused by wood movement. I would expect this top center piece to shrink across the grain by at least 3/8" moving from my shop climate to indoor air-conditioning. (11% down to +-6% moisture content) Using a length grain run strip across the grain strip will present high risk for failure on a solid wood top. So I will post how the across the grain inlay strips are made.

    First we glue up a number of short Soft Maple boards.



    Once the glue has cured, a diagonal line is drawn across the grain, diagonal to provide a little more strength for handling these, as they will be pretty fragile.



    Cut with the bandsaw on the line.



    Cut a strip a little wider than 1/4".



    Dimension these strips on the drum sander close to 1/4" using a sled, then sneak up to the final dimension allowing a nice snug fit into the routed grooves.



    The bottom edge which will contact the bottom of the routed groove is flattened on the combination sander. The corners are slightly rounded with a hand sanding block, to ease installation into the groove. The strip is then cut on the bandsaw to 1/8" high. So we have a smooth bottom with slightly rounded edges which will fit into the 1/16" deep groove, protruding above the top by 1/16" to be finished later.



    The length grain strip corners are cut with a bench chisel to exact length with close to 45" corners (not shown) and placed snugly into the routed grooves. The across the grain strips are pretty fragile, trying to cut them with a chisel clean is almost impossible. So we sneak up to close the correct length, cut with a bench chisel then sand the final dimension corners to fit exactly on the combination sander using a miter gauge.



    Finally, the strips are glued into the routed grooves with Tightbond Original. I used painters tape to hold them down simply as a safety precaution, however they were tapped in lightly with a mallet and fitted in so nice and snug it was probably not needed.



    The strips protrude 1/16" above the top at this stage. Before I had a drum sander, I would finish these flush with the top using a very sharp hand plane. However, a couple of passes through the drum sander will remove some glue squeeze out and finish the tops nicely in no time.

    More later.
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  16. #26
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    So far, so good captain. Excellent craftsmanship. Can't wait to see it done.
    Happiness is a direction not a destination. ~Athena Orchard

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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Very well done and once again thank you for taking the time to explain all of your steps. Did you do anything to prevent tear out when routing the inlay groove? I would have been extremely nervous to mess something up that far into the project.

  18. #28
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    This project is heading to an end. What will follow is assembly, final sanding and spraying the finish. The latter, I will cover how to do a professional spray job in no time, in my shop without a spray booth.

    Before gluing up the legs and aprons, I have to prepare the aprons for the drop leaf supports and for attaching the top.

    To attach the top, I use cleats which allow ample wood movement and are easy and fast to make.

    First I mill two 1/4" slots in the short aprons, using a 1/4" shaper cutter.



    Another shaper cutter is added with a 1/4" spacer to mill an end grain tenon (important) off a Maple stick and part each one off the stick.



    The cleats are rounded on the combination disk sander, drilled, countersunk and ready with a screw each for attaching the top.



    On the long aprons, we have to provide a slot for the leaf extension hardware. Done on the table saw, with a dado stack.



    Assembly to follow
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  20. #29
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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Quote Originally Posted by mbromley View Post
    Very well done and once again thank you for taking the time to explain all of your steps. Did you do anything to prevent tear out when routing the inlay groove? I would have been extremely nervous to mess something up that far into the project.
    Used a spiral bit, nice slow careful feed.

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    Re: Drop Leaf Table Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Willemjm View Post
    ... final sanding and spraying the finish. The latter, I will cover how to do a professional spray job in no time, in my shop without a spray booth.
    Not that I have mastered anything you have described so far, but I am really looking forward to your how-to on that phase (pro spraying in your shop).
    Henry W
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